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Make a splash on Christmas Day
Forget a hair of the dog – take a dip in the freezing sea off West Dorset to get over Christmas over-indulgence.
Plucky paddlers will be leaving their presents at home as they take part in this year’s Christmas Day swim in Charmouth.
The swim has been a tradition in the village for 40 years, with the Royal Oak pub in the village taking on the role of organisers as current landlords Phil and Angie Aylett have been doing for this year’s event.
Organisers are expecting there to be around 200 people attending the event, including those watching and those going for a Yuletide swim.
The event will start at 11am on Christmas Day on the beach, with organisers urging people who want to take a dip in the sea to arrive a bit early, due to traffic and parking.
Angie Aylett, who is helping organise this year’s swim, said: “The best thing is that people of all ages get involved. It’s lovely because people who have lived in the village for a long, long time get involved, plus people who are new to the area, plus all the youngsters. Plus, people that come from quite far away come down to either watch it or get involved.
“It gets everyone out of the house on Christmas Day and it gets everyone together and there is always a lovely community spirit and a great happy atmosphere.
“There is always a fair bit of fancy dress as well. Last year there was someone dressed as the Queen, and mankinis are always popular, and Phil went in dressed as one of the Blues Brothers, but you don’t have to be in fancy dress to do it.”
The Royal Oak pub will be providing free hot toddies to those who go into the sea, and will also be serving other refreshments to the crowds.
Members of the RNLI will also be there making collections for the charity, before everyone returns to the Royal Oak Pub to count the money and to go for a festive tipple.
“We are asking people to come and sign in from 10.30am,” said Simon Miles, one of the organisers. “Fancy dress is optional, but for anyone who has dressed up there will be a parade and judging at 11.45am just before the Wallow begins at midday.
“Jade Coombs, who is currently Miss Teen Dorset, will help the Mayor Maggie Ray with the judging and then Coun Ray will start the swim.”
Mr Miles urged anyone taking part or simply watching the spectacle to get to West Bay in plenty of time.
“It’s always a very busy day in West Bay and people don’t want to stay in the water all that long, so allow enough time to park and get there so as not to miss it.”
Wallowers can raise money for their own favourite good cause and download a sponsor form from the Bridport Round Table website.
There will be a bucket-shake among the crowd for Round Table charities and this year the Bridport Bandits and the local Sea Cadet company will be helping out.
In case of bad weather, a decision will be taken at 9.30am in conjunction with the West Bay Harbourmaster Jamie Radcliffe on whether the event can go ahead.
Visit bridportroundtable.co.uk or Twitter @bridportRT for updates.